Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: Hughes was of the Mark

Everyone needs good neighbours but you get the feeling that Mark Hughes won't be nipping around to Sir Alex's house to borrow a cup of vitriol and his spare Casio any day soon.

Sunday's Manchester derby was unbelievable — great game, fantastic result for those of us of a red hue, and Jamie Redknapp talking absolute balderdash, but with all this a sense of sadness —I've lost my Sparky.

I loved Mark Hughes back in the day when the only thing bigger than his hair were his thighs and my formative years just seemed to be a myriad of volleys flying in from all angles. Not mine, his.

I spent many an hour knocking an Adidas Tango ball off the side of the house in an effort to recreate the goal he scored at Maine Road when City treated United very badly in the Eighties.

Unfortunately I was more Nerys Hughes than Mark and while the away result then was |5-1 the result at home was a short visit to casualty and a hole in our back garden that would have kept Tony Robinson in employ for many a year.

But it's all over now, after Sunday's game at Old Trafford the world order has been changed forever. Hughesie hates United and Michael Owen is the darling of the Streford End. It's just wrong. Why do I get the feeling that somewhere there is a mad doctor sailing about Salford in a DeLorean with Michael J Fox looking for a flux capacitor.

Anyway, back to the present and with all the talk of what a South American was going to do to United there was another one going mad, a real angry Anderson — well, the neighbours were in town.

Wayne Rooney scored then Carloz Tevez (boooooo!) took advantage of Ben Foster's best Fabien Barthez impression. Foster? More like Fossetts Circus, but there was even more clownish defending to come later, much later.

Enter Rio Ferdinand, and someone clearly had as his daft pass was intercepted and Craig Bellamy ran through and scored. Mind you, the way that Foster went down, David Bellamy would have scored.

And while Fergie fumed on the sidelines, sticking pins into a doll of Plug from the Bash St Kids, up popped Owen to be the United hero. Still sounds wrong.

It caused shock, Jamie, clearly overcome by the fumes of bovines filling the house when the lovely Louise slips out of her wellies after coming back from Five of an evening, just lost it, a bit like Rio.

“He's just had a brain, err, what's the word, err, nightmare,” he told us as we watched the replay. “Storm”, Richard Keys helpfully suggested. Yes, one would be good, it might blow Jamie away.

But Match of the Day 2 were at it too, Adrian Chiles going on about ‘exasperated ejaculations' in the studio while Alan Hansen insisted that ‘United were omnipotent in the second-half'.

I know there's a sign saying ‘Manchester United — the religion' but this isn't Match of the Deity, Alan.

Belfast Telegraph


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